WHO announces process for revision of pain management guidelines

Categories: Policy.

The World Health Organization has called for experts to help with the revision of two very important guidelines on pain management that were recently withdrawn for updating. These guidelines include broad policy guidance on ensuring balance in national policies on controlled substances and the pharmacological treatment of persisting pain in children.

“These are critical resources in the palliative care community’s efforts to ensure access to essential medicines,” said Dr Stephen Connor, Executive Director for the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance.

The process includes the formation of two guidelines development groups, one for each document. Selection of potential members of these groups will account for expertise, regional and gender balance, as well as assessment of declarations of interest.

In the announcement, the WHO’s statement cited:

As an intergovernmental organization comprised of 194 Member States, WHO must consider and balance the differing needs of all countries for public health advice. WHO is deeply concerned about the opioid overdose crisis in the USA and about the risks and harms that can arise anywhere in the world from the misuse of medicines for pain management, including opioids. At the same time, WHO is well aware that in low- and middle-income countries, access to medicines for moderate and severe pain control remains very low. The Organization is fully committed to ensuring that children as well as adults with severe pain have access to effective pain control medication, including opioids when needed.

The final documents are expected to be published and disseminated within the next 9-12 months.

Countries in need of guidance on pain management in the interim can contact WHO to request ad hoc technical support at painmedicines@WHO.int.

To read more about the call for experts and the revision process, visit: https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/27-08-2019-who-revision-of-pain-management-guidelines.